Category Archives: What about health…

How to cut up your own organic free ranged dead chicken.

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I’ve decided that I would like to do more videos and less writing.
Sure I would I want to share my random opinions but I’ve realized that I have some mad skills that I could be teaching.
I’m spending my life collecting skills that improve quality of life.
Many of them are very easy and anyone can do it. And Many of them also do not involve pig heads or chicken feet. I will warn you when those ones come up but I would like to invite you to set an intention for yourself to be cool with uncommon animal parts because they are so commonly thrown away.

So, here it is!

My first skill share, just for you, my beloved followers.
It’s only three and a half minutes long and will teach you how to cut up your own free range organic chicken.
Doing this makes ethical meat so affordable. And we all love meat that wasn’t raised in its own poop without a beak of its own to peck bugs with.
I’ll figure out how to put the video right on the page, but until then you’ll have to click the link…

How to cut up your own free ranged organic dead chicken.

Lying to my children about food.

One day I decided to stop lying to my children about what they were eating. I would always try to sneak in a little hemp hearts or cod liver oil or whatever my newest fad food was at the time. I started to wonder if this practice may have been hurting them more than helping. I thought about this deeply and realized that it didn’t feel honest and authentic to me. By lying about their food I was sending them the message that I didn’t trust them to want to nourish their bodies. I was also creating a relationship of distrust in such an intimate way. Food is something that we put inside our bodies. How could I be all gung-ho for food labelling yet not allow my children to know what they were eating?!?!? I’m amazed by my own level of narrow minded thinking but we grow and learn better, right?
Another thing I thought about was how powerful it is to associate what we eat and how we feel. I wasn’t allowing my children that opportunity to make the food/body connection because I assumed that I knew best. I assumed they wouldn’t want to do the best thing for themselves. That’s crazy talk (or thought). All humans want the best.
So, I swallowed my fear and clenched my butt a little, when I said ” there’s hearts and livers in that chili.” and “Yes, I added some raw egg to that”.
When I first started being honest they would often decline to eat because I had trained them that health foods were to be hidden and mistrusted. Things are much different now.
My oldest son was sure that he HATED kombucha because I didn’t tell him that I added into jellos and soups and other things, but once I started telling him, then he knew he liked kombucha and was more willing to try stuff. Everything, he was more open to trying everything!
We are actually coming to a place where the previously hidden ingredients are now prized treasures. My daughter often asks if something is good for her as she knows the value of it. My son looks up recipes for new healthy things to try. He can be heard saying such things into google search as “heallllthy marshhhhhhmalllllows.”. I believe that this honesty has improved our relationships (and our lives) in so many ways. I feel like I can openly talk about what I am fermenting and making with it and they are interested and happy to try it, most of the time. They are still human though and sometimes I wonder when I will have gone too far. The boys did try the authentic headcheese I made last week even after seeing the “ingredients”. 😀

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Beautiful headcheese. I was told by a food historian, author, professor guy (Ken Albala) that I nailed it. It’s so exciting to take something that would otherwise be garbage and make food.

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Happy Kombucha SCOBY. We don’t eat these. Yet.

Do you sneak foods into your kids?

How to feed children: food freedom vs. food restriction.

I still haven’t totally found my ultimate position on how to feed children. The main dilemma for me is what to allow them to eat or to give them total food freedom like a good radical unschooler. This morning really proved my lack of a stance on the position when I felt explosive rage over Mr.Noodles and brightly coloured slushies. I had been practicing a lot of food freedom before this, with occasional reluctance and sighs of grief.
Gentle parenting, attachment parenting and especially radical Unschooling talk about empowering children through letting them make their own choices. Not only do radical unschoolers let them make their own choices as to what to eat at home, but they bring the food that they want into the house. The idea is that if we control their food, they will sneak it, want it more and wind up being adults that will binge on all the bad stuff they were deprived as children.
I get that. I also get that they need to listen to their own bodies, but what if their body screams for more chemical induced food highs?
I also get that they are children and in the same way that I don’t want their minds manipulated by religion or school, I don’t want them altered by chemicals and neuro toxins.
Those words: neuro toxins. They kept flooding me this morning as I thought about the Mr.Noodles. In my rage, I tore out the little package of death inside; the flavouring. I hid it in my pocket and dwelled on how different the children act when eating these foods. I very lightly touched on the other reasons, in my thoughts, that radical Unschoolers give their children complete food freedom… Is my distaste for certain foods just mybelief? Should I investigate it? Am I not trusting them? Will it make them want it more? The thing I knew for sure was that I wasn’t getting the philosophies and faking it to be in a certain category was not going to work.
What I did know for sure was that if I could just get to a place of love and connection and have a decent explanation for the kids, that things would be better. But I wasn’t there and I accepted it.
I continued with anger directed towards companies that use ingredients banned in other countries.
Neuro toxins. MSG. Trans fats… I was beginning to get dizzy thinking about it all.
And as I asked “WHY would people make this and why would people eat this?!?”, I only got angrier. My mom asked what I needed. I thought. I told myself that it’s ok and it will teach me something later. What I need is not apparent.
Well, it’s later and what have I learned?
Do I believe in food freedom?
Do I want to control what they eat?
Does it feel good for me?
I left the house, alone, for an appointment and I continued to ask these questions.
I discovered that I didn’t have the answers; that I only knew and breathed this moment.
This moment asks of me,
What is the highest good that can happen?
What is the positive side of it?
What calls me?
I let the slushies and Mr.Noodles wash over and out of me. I drove to the grocery store and bought all their favourite healthy snacks. I was focusing on the good. I stood at the cash register with my palms open and let the love flood through me to the cashier who had lost her daughter to cancer. I knew she was hurting despite her hard work and friendly attitude. She even asked me how I was. I let it come through and I realized that I didn’t need to form an opinion. I didn’t need to plan the perfect article with all the perfect advice on how to feed kids. We have it all inside, we just have to be open for it.

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Weedstock and Food Freedom: Discovered!

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I pleased myself greatly last night when I came up with Weedstock and when I fully developed my thoughts and feelings on food freedom with children. I was watching Michael, my partner, meticulously pull and nibble on “weeds” in the front yard. We eat our weeds, so far they’ve all been edible. I noticed that he was pulling more weeds than he could consume and so I asked him for them to throw into my soup stock. The undesirable plants that grow voluntarily and that we rip, hoe and poison: they are loaded with valuable nutrients, more so than the lettuce and cabbages we so laboriously grow. When picked young, they are also tender and not as bitter. Or simply throw them into your stock. I have a few things that I do for a super rich and delicious stock.

How to make Weedstock:

1. Sauté your vegetables (onions, carrots and any other vegetable scraps) on low in a fat with a high smoking point. I use lard, chicken fat or you could use butter or olive oil. I cook them slowly to perfect caramelization. I like to do this over a morning as it poses no risk of burning when it’s on low.
2. Add water to cover: bones, meats, herbs, a few spoons of vinegar (or over fermented kombucha, to draw out minerals), egg shells and WEEDS! Please make sure you’ve identified a plant 100% before using.
3. Simmer (do not boil) for 2 days or more.
4. Strain and use in dishes, soups and sauces. I strain it as we need it.

My kids are so use to these foods now that they ask for it. I wasn’t making broth due to not wanting to heat up the house and my oldest asked why I wasn’t making broth. I was pleasantly shocked as he has been the child to complain the most about the healthy foods I’ve been cooking. Now he has a taste for it. He told me that he comes and grabs a cup of broth out of the pot when he’s hungry. I’m so happy!
There seems to have been a major shift in my kids lately. I’ve been letting go of food issues and beliefs and focusing on the foods that call me, and them. There was a point when candy and processed treats distressed me and I wanted to rip it from their hands and run with it into the wild where I could burn it and dump dish soap all over its KRAFT insides. Well, as fun as that was, I’m letting it go. I’m accepting it as the reality that is now. Factories make food like products and sometimes my children want it and they want it too much. Well, the truth is that I want it too much sometimes as well. It’s not just children. It’s a challenge; a gastrointestinal challenge mostly. I’m working on conquering my own by cooking and eating what I am peacefully drawn to and I see that it is radiating down to the children. They are joining into my passion for wild and local, real foods. They love to be able to identify wild foods they can eat as well as take part in animal and vegetable harvests. More importantly than what they eat, is how they eat. I want them
To feel free to eat without stress, judgement, shame or guilt.
With this freedom, we are finding the foods that they love.
With the inner candy/junk struggle within me, I decided to focus on the good and ignore the sneaky candy. I knew it had gotten bad when they felt they had to sneak it. That’s not true freedom. My restricting had led to them wanting it more and sneaking it. But oh well right? Live, love and learn. So…
I was also starting to see how my projecting of fears and beliefs about certain foods could and would cause food issues in the kids. But I had an idea…
So I started making ice cream for them every night. Sometimes we had leftovers for breakfast or an afternoon snack. They love it. I make it with LOTS of egg yolks, raw/local honey, fresh fruits, mineral rich maple syrup, fresh garden herbs like mint and basil, probiotic loaded kefir and occasionally raw cream and milk.
They are seeming more satisfied these days and are not asking for foods which I am not already buying. Interesting. I buy a variety and I buy what they like. They are inventing their own satisfying recipes out of our good, wholesome ingredients. Fascinating! Sometimes I’m buying marshmallows, as the homemade ones just melt into the hot campfire coals. yes, sometimes I am buying marshmallows and my friends and family become wide-eyed as I am usually known as crazy, food person. Well, crazy just got kooky.
Something has switched, and I think it is me. It’s always me.
It turns out that children are people and they do want to be healthy and happy. Sometimes they fail, but so do I. It’s all part of the journey.

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“Lettuce-head”, Michael. He is twelve and sometimes takes on the character of a rabbit when he eats his lettuce plain and plentiful.

Fermented Foods Blog To Come!

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I am quite in awe right now of the attention I am getting in regards to fermented foods. People want to
learn about these cultured foods and I want to teach it. Teaching is has been instrumental to me learning it. I love the wisdom of cultured foods and the availability for everyone to experience them. Beneficial Microbes are waiting for you everywhere. They want to be made into these life giving foods. We need it. Did you know that there are more bacteria in your body than cells!?!? Imagine them with me now, all microscopic and lively living along the walls of your intestines. Your intestinal wall cells (epithelial cells) actually have receptors for bacteria! Bacteria fill up the spaces available and lets hope
Its the good bacteria that has taken up residence. They crowd out the bad guys, did ya know?
Making cultured foods is not expensive or time consuming unless your like me and are consumed by it… Then it is life consuming. And ANYONE can do it safely. Fermented foods are safer than canning. The microbes are genius as they preserve their own environment with acids and alcohol, preventing pathogens. Wow!
So this is my BIG announcement. I’m having a new baby…. A blog baby! A blog dedicated to probiotic recipes and information! Everyday I discover new ways to put together probiotics with healthy ingredients and nourishing coconut oil. And my eyes swell up at the possibilities to be nourished AND have it taste amazing. I can’t keep
It in any longer. My dabblings in cultured treats, snacks and such shall be yours. I’ll post the link to my new site as soon as it’s up. Stay tuned…
UPDATE, new blog:
Cultured Food Humblings

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Robbing The Hole.

I’ve been there, trying to stretch your money to make food last the longest. This often means going to a big cheap store and loading up on two dollar boxes of crackers, breads, cereals, granola bars and pasta. When you look at the entire picture, this is actually a very expensive way to eat. I know, I’ve been there, trying to fill the hole so the children don’t go hungry; So they always have snacks. But really, by filling up on cheap, processed foods you are really robbing the hole, not filling it. These foods deplete your body and force it to work overtime to deal with such inappropriate foods for humans. It takes energy, vitamins and minerals for it to pass through you. They also contribute to every known ailment ask Dr.Oz or Dr.Mercola. Hah!
Now, if you’ve been robbing the hole, let’s set aside guilt, it is of no use to us. You were doing your best and now you’re going to do better. What can you do? A lot, even on a tight budget. Think about Grandma or Great Grandma, what did they eat during extremely hard times?
You can watch your health and the health of your family increase dramatically as you replace processed foods with real foods. You all will get use to it, even your tastes will change. Here are some cheap nutrient dense foods to start adding in, you can get them for cheap or often free:

1. Eat eggs! They are good for you again (hehe). Even the little contradictory pamphlets at the doctors office tell me to eat eggs now. Egg yolks are full of Vitamins and good fats and when eaten slightly cooked or raw, your body barely has to digest it to get energy. They contain almost every nutrient we require, as an egg has all that it needs to create a baby chick.
2. Make lard. There’s an abundance of pig fat due to lard being given a bad name and rendering is not hard. But it’s actually a very high quality fat that your body needs; think about the animal fats that your ancestors survived and evolved on. Their brains grew larger on it. Try googling lard is bad for you and all it comes up with is “lard is no longer bad for you” and “lard is the new health food.” This is based on ancient wisdom combined with research. Please eat lard, it’s WAY cheaper than butter and margarine is evil. Evil!
3. Make bone broth now. Have soup once a day, or more. Source bones for free or cheap. Research all the good info on bone broth and ask my kids (or my poops) how Amazing it is. You can do it.
4. Buy lots of organic apples on sale they last and can be made into stuff. Apples are now what my kids (and children visiting us) go for when they want a sweet treat. Your children (or partner) will get use to it and love it eventually as they no longer feel like crap all the time. You can even fancy up your apples with cinnamon and vanilla!
5. Ok, now we are going to get a little more complicated, but we are still staying very inexpensive. Start Fermenting Foods. I can’t stress enough how Important it is to repopulate your gut with good bacteria everyday. E. Coli and Salmonella and Clostridia Dificile are all kept in check in your body by the good microbes, unless you don’t have enough… Good microbes inhabit space and use up available nutrients (prebiotics) before pathogens can, thus crowding them out. Fermenting (or culturing) foods can feel daunting at first, but it’s not hard and there’s a lot of hard working people out there (me included) who can guide you through it. You can start with something easy (and super cheap to make) like kombucha. You need to source a kombucha mother or SCOBY. You can pretty much ferment any real food. I love to make sauerkraut and kimchi and other fermented vegetables like cortido. There’s also dairy ferments like yogurt and kefir and cheese and sour cream and on and on. My family and I have come to crave these foods as has many people who have converted to real foods.
6. Eat organ meats!?!? Yes. Animals store vitamins (not toxins) in their organs especially the liver. Vitamin D ad A specifically, and in high amounts. If you don’t like organs, you can add small amounts into sauces and soups. I blend chicken liver from organic, grass fed chickens into beef stroganoff and it’s amazing. Use very small amounts to start, an ounce or less so you don’t ruin your meal. I cut up the liver and freeze on a cookie sheet to have small pieces to use at a time. We’ve been very fortunate lately and have been getting free liver from Deer. Sound scary? When my mother brought it to me, it was the most amazing and Healthy looking liver I had ever seen. Actually, the entire deer is that way. I stare in awe at feet that are never gnarly, broken or raw. Their hides are so full and thick and their flesh smells so clean that my mom can’t resist eating it raw. O.o

These foods I have mentioned are all inexpensive and will leave you feeling full longer. They are all nourishing and healing. They will also eliminate the cravings for bad foods when eaten for long enough. An apple a day…
By adding in good, nutrient dense foods you are protecting and strengthening generations to come! Hiya!

So, my last words: A box of something processed can buy a dozen eggs or maybe 5 or 10 lbs of pig fat or a head of cabbage to make a fermented, probiotic rich drink (called cabbage rejuvelac) or a whack load Of bones or a bag of apples. Stop robbing the hole and start nourishing it. You deserve it!

For more info on fermenting contact me or join my partner and I on fb at “Nadine and Keirsten’s Fermentation Station.”
Another great resource is Donna Schwenk’s site
http://www.culturedfoodlife.com

Mouth watering goodness. A meal complete with ferments (the jalapeños were fermented).

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Liver on a cookie sheet.

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Soaked Oatmeal.

Me.

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Our newest investment… A new baby! Little Aayla Olive.

Vaccinations: the deeper, less dark side.

This post has been a long time coming. Everyone must be dying to know. What’s my opinion on vaccinations? Are they a medical gift to humanity? Or are they an evil chemical burden to our bodies?
I have spent a lot of time reading about vaccinations and talking to people on both sides about it; years and years. This will not be an article giving you vaccine statistics, there is enough of that already if you’re interested.
I would like to explore the deeper sides of vaccinations and the reasons why we do or don’t. I want to delve into the reasons above numbers and charts and horrifying images of children burdened by disease.
I’ve spent a great deal of time agonizing in thought over what is the correct choice? Which course of action will leave me superior and right? I want to be right.
The more I learned, the more complicated it got… The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears, suggested what they call an “Alternative Vaccine Schedule”. Meaning that you weigh the risks of the disease at the time during the risks of the vaccine. It also means that you delay some vaccines until your children are older and have a more developed immune system. The problem I found with this is that Public Health is not really designed for this. The vaccines offered are combined and so if you want tetanus, you also get the standard five (for children under seven) diphtheria, pertussis, polio and rubella and on occasion (according to our public health nurse here) you get the influenza vaccine in it as well. Even for adults you cannot just get a tetanus shot. It still has tetanus and diphtheria.
This certainly doesn’t make things easy when being selective with vaccines. I wonder why this is?
So I dug deeper and listened to all the arguments, and came up with many of my own. I could not identify with most people’s positions on the issue, on both sides. One side, I would hear them declare emphatically how necessary it is to vaccinate children for their health and how stupid it is not to do so. Many implied that not doing so was downright neglectful to their well-being while containing to feed their children processed foods, large amount of sugar and other things known to cause and contribute to every known ailment. It was as if they didn’t believe trans fats contribute to cancer but vaccines prevent illness. I was baffled.
People on the other side that I came across were so adamant in being right with their approach against vaccines that it seemed to be ingrained in their identity. It is a dangerous thing to build your identity on opinions because it makes it difficult to shift and grow with new information. Anyways, I was no longer in it for a fight, but most were still there. Both sides considered the other to be dangerous and harmful and were extremely passionate in this.
As I reflected on what I thought my opinions may be, I realized that many of my arguments could be used to support either side of the debate. They were common, and weak: “I want my children to be healthy.” And “I couldn’t live with myself if anything bad happened.” and “There is so much we don’t know.” and ” I’d rather be safe than sorry.”. None of these statements demonstrated a holistic (all encompassing) understanding to health and safety. They were simple, blanket statements intended to justify one’s actions. But were they right? I figured something life changing out…
That in order to see the whole picture I needed to make a decision that wasn’t based out of fear. My first child was not vaccinated due to fear instilled by my father (thanks, Dad). He lectured us on the toxic ingredients like aluminum, mercury, animal blood and formaldehyde. He stated lawsuits due to vaccine damage, and it was high. He protested against my school’s principal insistence to vaccinate me with playful yet serious threats “I’ll cut off your head!”. And so I stayed away from vaccines and felt confident enough in that, I was 18.
When my second son was born I was faced with the same decisions again and my arguments against vaccination felt weak. I became bothered by doctors and nurses description of dead babies with whooping cough and deformed children due to polio. Horrible posters of complications due to measles and mumps hung in nurses offices where it is custom to get your baby weighed. It became obvious that with age I had matured. My instincts kicked in with a deep desire to breastfeed and never let my new baby cry it out. I had to know more about vaccines. I chose not to vaccinate him due to all the fears I had read about Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Dr.Wakefield’s accusations of them contributing or even causing Autism, not really a decision based on instinct. The fear on both sides is intense. I have felt them both. There was fear of debilitating illness from the diseases which vaccines can prevent and then there’s fear of rare adverse reactions to the vaccine and death on both sides. In the darkness of our room with a sick child coughing and hot, I would become wide-eyed and wondering… have I made a terrible mistake? I asked myself if this would be the rare time a child dies needlessly. I could see the sorry looks of “I told you so. You should of vaccinated.”.
I needed to sit with myself in a still place and really let it all sink in. With my third child, I had more information yet and was still comfortable not vaccinating her. We spent hours with the public health nurse, drilling her with question after question. Her words lingered in my head for a long time. We then came face to face with a vaccine-preventable illness. It was the time that the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) was going around claiming to be life-threatening to pregnant women, infants and the elderly and it was everywhere. It was a huge deal. People wore masks and news stories inciting fear spread like wild fire. I was pregnant with my fourth child and test results confirmed what most people feared at that time; I had contracted the H1N1 virus. They called me into the office and handed me a mask that I was to wear everywhere I went. A masked person is a frightening thing to see (or be) in a grocery store. So I had the swine flu and my symptoms included a mild cough, heart palpitations (I think) and being tired. I had experienced MUCH worse flus in my life. I understand that people did die from it, but as a common person, it was no big deal to me. Why all the hype? We lived through it and for it acquired natural immunity to it. Had I gotten the vaccination, it would have turned out to be an over reaction to media induced fear. Not getting vaccinated in that instance proved to be right for us at that time. But how can we know before hand? We can’t. We didn’t. Things could have turned out much different. I lived the risk and was fine for it, but life doesn’t always go that way. I can imagine what an insult refusing vaccinations is to someone who has lost an infant to whooping cough or has seen someone through polio.
I see the extreme situations like that and I notice how it gets out of hand. But where does it end? Can we vaccinate against everything? Is the chicken pox vaccination really necessary when it is a harmless childhood disease? When I got shingles I started researching it. Many people were suggesting that the rise in shingles is due to children not getting chicken pox. This is because older people were no longer being exposed to it and getting natures “booster shot”. Could this be true? What else works in this way? Our bodies truly are amazing and want to survive, but they need the right tools. Could one of those tools be vaccinations which work with your immune system?
Let’s go deeper and challenge it further: We could also consider vaccinating healthy adults to limit exposure to the elderly, infants, pregnant women and those with auto-immune disorders. People with healthy gut flora, those who drink adequate water and nourishing foods like bone broth and fermented drinks will will be able to flush out a lot of the toxic ingredients in vaccines.
It may be apparent by now that I have not chosen stance on either side even though my actions indicate I am anti-vaccine. Yet I can not be anti for something where it is clear that it has prevented many deaths and debilitation. That is another one of those statements that could be used for the opposite position to support not vaccinating… Wink, wink. Is it really possible to support the opposite of what you do? I’m going down the rabbit hole here and I don’t imagine it ends… We can philosophize and meditate on it forever, but one wants to make a choice.
Ultimately, it resonates with me to allow nature to do its work with building strong immune systems naturally. I feel passionate about building and maintaing amazing health with increased immunity through bone broth, organ meats, eggs and fermented foods. That’s the path I have chosen; it speaks to me. I can sit with that choice and feel secure. I am comfortable with allowing natures way of always trying to gain strength over what could harm it; evolving and gaining one up on the other with my help by providing nourishment for it. I’m focusing on more than just food to prevent severe illness. It’s also important to practice proper and frequent hand washing, breastfeeding from age two and beyond, diet (this is HUGE) and limited exposure to pathogens. These vaccine preventable illnesses are most risky to children under two and some even just children under six months. It’s possible that my child has even had pertussis. A blood test could confirm their already existent immunity to it, there’s another route you could go. Because of all this and because my children are not in school they are not in the high risk group for infection. Besides, exposure to germs is what builds strong immune systems. Lab rats born to sterile mothers in sterile environments proved to be sick and weakly.
I also know that I could deal with whatever nature has to give me. For me, it is what is and therefore always “right”. I know we are strong and our diet is rich in deeply nourishing foods that are alive and nutrient dense. I’ve also made peace with the fact that there are no guarantees in life. Even if I attempt to control every aspect of life, things can go wrong, people can die. I accept it.
The final answer is this: make your choice from your quiet and still place unburdened by fears. We’ve chosen not to vaccinate for now but I support anyone who does. Both can stem from ones sacred path. I see that both our choices come from that same place.

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